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  #1  
Old 06-14-2022, 08:47 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Default Alternatives to guitars

Is there another reasonably full-range stringed (not accordions or pipes) instrument that's as portable as a guitar? I count resonators as guitars, btw.

The only thing I can come up with is the Irish bouzouki, but I am sure there are others out there.

I'd like to be able to break up a set with some different sounds, or just be out there doing something different.

Is anyone from the forum playing something unusual out there?
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Old 06-14-2022, 09:17 AM
Tahitijack Tahitijack is offline
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You still might need an amp but some modern day keyboards are pretty light weight especially when you get down to 60 or so keys.
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:47 AM
Driftless Driftless is offline
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Mandocello, a large variety of banjo types, bajo sexto, large array mbira, oud, fretless guitar
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:13 AM
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Chromatic dulcimer
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2022, 11:28 AM
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The harmonium has been edging in with the folk crowd. They are a great accompaniment instrument. The best I've seen are manufactured for, and then set up here in the States by, Old Delhi Music. They've got a great site that will teach you all you need to know about harmoniums (harmonia?). Go through the FAQ. Not strings attached, except those holding the tags and keys for the cover.



Or you could try cow bell.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2022, 11:47 AM
PineMarten PineMarten is offline
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I use a 10 string cittern a fair bit - much the same as the Irish bouzouki, but mine is a little larger than most, 650mm scale and I tune it CGDAD in unison pairs. It's great for accompanying folk songs, and kind of forces me out of imitating too closely other people's guitar arrangements!
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Old 06-14-2022, 12:04 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Guitars are bur one of a large family of musical instruments called "chordophones".

There are generally (not exclusively) made with tensioned strings enabling the player to play more than one note at a time (as with wind instruments).

The most familiar to us is probably the mandolin family -mandolin, mandola, mando-cello etc., as they are alsofretted and played pizzicato.

There is also their neighbours the violin family (no fretted) and their forbears - cittern, lute, oud etc.

Actually keyboard instruments are chordophones and many guitarists will take a break and use pianos during their act.

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-14-2022, 02:16 PM
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Octave mandolin comes to mind, but not before a regular mandolin. Why? Play mandolin, show up at a jam and be unique because you can fill a frequency space different from the six guitars that showed up. Then there are all the fiddle tunes you can play. You'll get more chances to play. Not like stand up bass though.

Then all the chords can port over to octave mandolin if you like. One mandolin caveat, bring money.
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Old 06-14-2022, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
One mandolin caveat, bring money.
This is true........

D
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Old 06-14-2022, 05:10 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Are you playing solo or with an ensemble, instrumental only or with vocals, and what genre[s] - big difference in terms of the sonic space you need to fill, and the type of instrument[s] you'd find most effective...
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Old 06-14-2022, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
Octave mandolin comes to mind, but not before a regular mandolin. Why? Play mandolin, show up at a jam and be unique because you can fill a frequency space different from the six guitars that showed up. Then there are all the fiddle tunes you can play. You'll get more chances to play. Not like stand up bass though.

Then all the chords can port over to octave mandolin if you like. One mandolin caveat, bring money.
Picking up mandolin really boosted my value as a musician to local bands. I went from being one of a few thousand mediocre guitar players to being one of a few dozen mediocre mandolin players.....and I was willing to play genres besides just bluegrass.
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Old 06-14-2022, 08:33 PM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
The harmonium has been edging in with the folk crowd. They are a great accompaniment instrument.
There are larger models of harmonium too:
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Old 06-14-2022, 09:26 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
There are larger models of harmonium too:
The larger ones are more widely known as pump or reed organs, and were a popular instrument for the parlors of well-to-do homes and small churches into the first three decades of the 20th century; interestingly enough, single-voice electric reed organs - some of which boasted dual manuals - were available through many department and furniture stores (particularly around Christmas season) through the late-60's, well into the heyday of portable transistor organs (Vox, Farfisa, Crumar, et al.) and 35+ years after the first Hammond tone-wheel instruments hit the market. FWIW Neil Young has been using an 1885 reed organ for years in live performance:

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Old 06-15-2022, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
There are larger models of harmonium too:
Here is mine:



This is a Chicago Cottage Style 96 pump organ from around 1890 when it was purchased by my great-grandfather for his church. When the church outgrew their sanctuary and the organ they gave it back to the family. It was eventually passed to my grandparents where it became the first instrument I ever played (with). As a kid, whenever I visited them I climbed up onto the seat, opened the fall board, and pressed the keys. Once I got some sound happening I was completely mesmerized. The growly sound of the low reeds and the ability to push a few keys and get something serious going were fascinating to me. I spent hours experimenting with it, monkeying with chords and intervals, and driving my parents CRAZY. By contrast, my grandmother loved and encouraged my experiments.

When my grandparents died the organ passed to my parents. This last January when we closed up shop on the family home, I brought it home. It still plays, but I've got to stake out some time and do a little work on the primary bellows.

By the way, I wouldn't suggest traipsing one of these around to gigs.

Bob
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  #15  
Old 06-15-2022, 05:10 AM
rmp rmp is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Picking up mandolin really boosted my value as a musician to local bands. I went from being one of a few thousand mediocre guitar players to being one of a few dozen mediocre mandolin players.....and I was willing to play genres besides just bluegrass.
so there's hope for me yet huh

if there's a real need for a mediocre mando player, oh man have I got that COVERED
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Last edited by rmp; 06-15-2022 at 05:26 AM.
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